Bribery charges against LAOS chief unlikely

It seem unlikely that the leader of the ultranationalist Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, Giorgos Karatzaferis, will face bribery charges after it was revealed that two middlemen in an arms deal paid 1.6 million euros to his offshore company, sources have told Kathimerini. Instead, Karatzaferis will be charged with breaching the law regarding his derivation of wealth (“pothen esches”) forms, which is considered a felony.

Kathimerini understands that anti-corruption magistrate Gavriil Mallis has not found any evidence so far suggesting that the two payments made to Karatzaferis in 2007 and 2008 were linked to a deal to sell six Super Puma helicopters to the Greek armed forces. Alexandros Tsatsos and Stavros Komnopoulous, the two men who brokered the deal for the helicopters in 2000, transferred the money to Karatzaferis. They have claimed through representatives that they were repaying a loan made to them by Karatzaferis.

Sources told Kathimerini that since Karatzaferis did not serve in government during the time the deal was agreed it is difficult to establish how he could have played a part in securing the agreement. Mallis has been examining the LAOS leader’s parliamentary activity during the period in question but does not believe there is any evidence that would support charges of bribery or money laundering.

Mallis is continuing his investigation into this aspect of the case but will in the meantime forward the case file relating to the derivation of wealth charges to appeals prosecutor Panayiotis Brakoumatsos. This is expected to happen in the next few days.

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